Monday, February 6, 2012

So Close... The NFL's "Evolution" Commercial

The NFL's highly-touted safety commercial made its debut in the during the Super Bowl, backed with a very cool website.

It encapsulates the history of the NFL, and its safety innovations, by following a punt return that runs forward through the decades from the sport's early days to the modern era.

If you haven't seen it, YouTube can oblige:

The Packers make two appearances in the commercial, once on offense and once on defense.

The first appearance spans the 1940s:

That's an actor playing Hall of Famer and Packer legend Tony Canadeo with the ball. Nicknamed the "Gray Ghost" for his prematurely graying hair, Canedeo joined the Packers in 1941, and played through 1952, making him a perfect pick to run with the ball through this decade.

He's wearing Curly Lambeau's classic blue and gold uniform, with the shoulder yoke.

The camera tracks "Canadeo" and booms up, giving us a great look at his uniform.

Anybody notice the problem yet? The shoulder yoke is a bit pointy at the end, but that's forgivable. The inaccuracy I'm looking at is much larger. Think about it. and we'll come back to it in a few minutes.

As he runs towards the end of the decade, the leather helmet falls away to reveal a plastic shell (adopted by the Packers in 1950).

It sprouts a chinstrap, and away we go into the dawn of the 1950s. CUT TO: a ground-level shot of the Gray Ghost as he runs into, and over, a Philadelphia defender.

Note the green stripe on his gold helmet. Our runner puts his hand to the dirt to steady himself, and when he takes his next step, it's a new era and a new player, as Canadeo is replaced with a Los Angeles Ram.

And there we have it, the latest appearance of the Lambeau-era Green Bay Packers on the screen.

It's a clever commercial, but how accurate is it in terms of the Blue and Gold? The answer is: fairly, but not completely. Did you notice the historical error in Canadeo's uniform?

If not, I'll give you a clue: stripes.

Lambeau's 1940s uniform never included stripes on the gold pants.

Note also the rounded end on the shoulder yoke.

Now let's look at the second uniform, the plastic-helmeted 1950s-era blue, gold and green.

I don't know that the Packers ever wore these pants in the post-Lambeau era, but I'm not quite so comfortable saying "never" as the 1950s were such a back and forth, mix-and-match era in Green Bay's history.

I am pretty confident that they wore the green-striped gold lid with their blue uniform tops (but perhaps not those tops; Curly's solid-blue alternate (introduced in 1949) definitely saw occasional use in the following seasons, but I'm not sure about the gold yokes.

So there you have it. Two Packer uniforms, one from the 1940s and one from the 1950s, each with a generally decent sense of authenticity that misses a few details. Really, guys, you could have just called me.

Next up, we'll take a look at the second Packer appearance in this commercial, featuring defense, green jerseys and a very frustrated Coach Lombardi.

1 comment:

The Thrill said...

1960s City Stadium looked BEAUTIFUL (except for a light post in the wrong spot.)